Shuttlers have put India on the world map but all is not well in the Badminton Association of India (BAI), the federation that is supposed to look after the interests of its top stars.
President Akhilesh Das Gupta and secretary Vijai Sinha are at loggerheads and it may impact the Premier Badminton League, conducted by the federation, scheduled to begin on January 1.
In a letter dated November 22, a copy of which is with HT, BAI president Gupta wrote: “…with a heavy heart in exercise of the emergency powers vested in the undersigned by virtue of clause 12(a) of the memorandum of BAI. I hereby provide that Dr Vijai Sinha, who is unable to perform his duties and functions as the honorary general secretary of the BAI, be divested of his powers, duties and functions.” This letter addressed to all office-bearers and affiliated units vests Sinha’s duties to Anup Narang, who is the joint secretary of the federation.
On Saturday, Sinha said Gupta wanted him out of the federation. “I have submitted a medical certificate signed by the CMO of the state. I did this because I knew something was cooking. You don’t need a medical certificate to carry on the honorary duties of a secretary general. But all this is done to keep me out,” he told HT over phone on Saturday.
Despite several attempts, the BAI president could not be reached in this matter.
In his rebuttal letter, Sinha took potshots at Gupta. “…I confirm my fitness and availability as and when really required and there is no cause of anxiety for anyone. As a matter of fact our honorable president is himself trying to keep me out because I am not agreeable to many of his personal demands in his ulterior motives,” he wrote.
Sinha also put on record that he has signed a cheque book (100 leaves) of the BAI and has handed it over to the president, who is the co-signatory.
Badminton as a sport is on a high. PV Sindhu’s silver medal at the Rio Olympics was the second successive time when India returned with a medal from the quadrennial games.
Sindhu, who has two World Championship medals, only last month won her first Super Series tile when she edged Sun Yu 21-11, 17-21, 21-11 in the China Open. Her compatriot Saina Nehwal, who is making a comeback after undergoing a knee injury post Rio Olympics, is a former World No.1.
Even HS Prannoy, Sai Praneeth and Sourabh Verma have had significant results this year. But unrest in the federation could hurt the players in the long run.